CIA, ISI fighting war on terror together without mutual trust: NYT

Posted By: Staff
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Islamabad, Feb. 25 (ANI): While America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are apparently working together on crucial anti-terror operations in the region of the Pak-Afghan border, they are not doing so without keeping a watchful eye on each other, according to the New York Times.

For example, Pakistani and American spies are closely watching a senior Taliban leader captured kept in a secret detention centre in an industrial pocket of Islamabad with one eaye, and with the other they are watching each other.

Tensions in the relationship surfaced in the days immediately after Mullah Baradar's arrest, when the ISI refused to allow C.I.A. officers to interrogate the Taliban leader.

Americans have since been given access to the detention center. On Wednesday, Pakistani and Afghan officials meeting in Islamabad said that a deal was being worked out to transfer Mullah Baradar to Afghan custody, which could allow the Americans unrestrained access to him.

A top American military officer in Afghanistan on Wednesday suggested that with the arrests, the ISI could be trying to accelerate the timetable for a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

"I don't know if they're pushing anyone to the table, but they are certainly preparing the meal," the paper quoted the official, as saying.

Even as the ISI breaks up a number of Taliban cells, US officials hint that the ISI's goal seems to be to weaken the Taliban just enough to bring them to the negotiating table, but leaving them strong enough to represent Pakistani interests in a future Afghan government.

This contrasts sharply with the American goal of battering the Taliban and strengthening Kabul's central government and security forces.

One top American official, who met recently in Islamabad with General Kayani, said: "We have a better level of cooperation. "How far that goes, I can't tell yet. We'll know soon whether this is cooperation, or a stonewall and kind of rope a dope." (ANI)

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